We just returned from a wonderful weekend at Mountain Harbor. We originally booked a King Studio at the Lodge but were able to take advantage of a condo special and upgrade to one of the 2-bedroom, 2 bathroom condos. Everyone (staff and guests alike) were very friendly; it definitely felt like we were being welcomed into part of a family. Here are some specifics:
1. The condo. We stayed in one of the condos in East Harbor by Turtle Cove Spa. There were four units in each building with parking in front. Once inside the condo, you felt completely secluded and surrounded by the beautiful trees. It was nice to be able to step outside and realize you were only a short walk from the spa, the lake, and the workout circuit. We met one of the owners of the other condos while unloading our car and they were very friendly and invited us to knock on their door if we needed anything. I think this speaks to the hospitality of the area. There was also a pool by the spa, but we choose to swim at the Lodge pool since there seemed to be more children for our son to play with. The kitchen was very well stocked. The dishes were newer, and there was dish detergent and dishwasher cubes. My only complaint about the room was that it had a slightly "musty" odor when we first arrived. I think this is to be expected (given the rustic setting and proximity to the lake), and a few sprays of Febreze took care of it. The shower pressure was wonderful and the AC (it was just under 100 degrees the weekend we were there) was cold. There was also a deck outside with a grill and table with four chairs. We didn't use the deck because we were so busy and it was hot. If you want to use the deck at night I would recommend some type of bug spray or repellent since you are literally sitting in the trees.
2. The Lodge. Up at Lodge there are two pools - a tiny kiddie pool and a larger pool in back between the Lodge and the marina. The restaurant is in the Lodge and the food is really good. They have a nice soup/salad bar that comes with most entrees or can be ordered separately. It was nice to be able to keep my family filled up with veggies - so often during vacation we eat unhealthy meals. At least one night try the huge sundae with the fudge brownie - YUM!! Across the parking lot from the Lodge is a laundry room and a small playground for kids. One of my favorite spots was on the deck outside the restaurant; I took a few minutes and sat outside with a glass of wine on a rocking chair overlooking the lake. Beautiful!! The Lodge also has "supplies" for purchase - we forgot bug spray and were able to stock up. Other than the outer deck area, I didn't see a "common" area that you find in some lodges (with a fireplace, chairs for socializing, books/videos to borrow, etc.) This area might exist but we didn't see one.
3. The Marina. Wow - the floating store and Subway are really great. Over the course of the weekend we purchased gallons of water for taking onto the lake, snacks, paper cups, sandwich bags, and two life jackets for our son (a traditional one and one for water play.) They also had convenience groceries, water sports supplies, and fishing supplies. It seemed very well-stocked, which is helpful because the nearest store is several miles away (and honestly, is not as well stocked.) Another favorite experience was taking our Subway sandwiches out onto the back dock and taking in the million-dollar view. You cannot help but relax in that setting. Obviously the prices are higher since it is on resort property but we it was worth the convenience.
4. The grounds. We drove around and explored the grounds our first morning. Make sure to check out the view from Micah's point (North Harbor). The Joplin campground area has a nice swimming area; we saw several families with young children swimming there. I'm sure there are many more neat spots but we didn't have time to see it all.
5. The lake. Another wow! I grew up boating on several lakes in Phoenix, AZ. None of those can compare to the beauty of Lake Ouachita. It really is stunning and peaceful. To save money, we drove about 30 miles to Lake Ouachita State Park and rented a 16-ft. fishing boat from the marina ($70 for a full day). The state park also has a pontoon boat for rent that is much cheaper. It took us about 45 minutes to get there one way, but was worth the money savings for us. Even though we weren't renting a boat from the Mountain Harbor marina, the staff at the marina took several minutes to tell us about the lake and recommend places to visit. They are the reason we went out to Hotel Island, which was perfect - easy to find and shallow water for swimming.
All in all a great family getaway! Here are a few more tips that we will remember for next time:
- remember all the supplies (ice chest, sunblock, hats, bug spray)
-remember it is a rustic setting - we went in the middle of the late-summer "spider" season. We could tell the condo had been treated for pest control because many of the "critters" we saw inside were dead, but we did have to share the condo with several 8-legged friends. I am more calm about this now than I was then! Next time I head into relative "wilderness," I will bring peppermint essential oil (as I have heard it repels the spiders).
-even if you are newbies like us you should probably bring some basic camping supplies to spend the day on the lake (e.g. a snake bite kit). We were talking to some fellow guests at the pool who saw some cottonmouths out on the lake. We didn't see any but it pays to be prepared.
-Remember MH is in a dry county. If you do not bring your own wine/beer/etc., you can head out to Lewis Liquor, about 8 miles back down the 270 and over the county line.
We will definitely be back!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa, with Lake Ouachita's premiere Arkansas cabins, has been proudly owned and operated by the Barnes family since 1955, when Hal Barnes found a beautiful harbor in the newly formed Lake Ouachita, just under the gentle sweep of Hickory Nut Mountain. His vision for his "mountain harbor" lives on under the ownership and management of his son, Bill Barnes, and his son, Chris, and daughter, Stephanie, who are both integral in the operations. Just a thirty minute drive west from Hot Springs, this premier Arkansas resort, offers Lake Ouachita's most luxurious cabins and cozy lake view guest rooms, an elite fleet of rental boats, services and fuel through Mountain Harbor's Marina, houseboat rentals, lake view dining at the Lodge Restaurant and three sparkling swimming pools. Weddings, group meetings and family reunions find exceptional staff and service in our lake side conference and wedding venues. You can access miles of hiking, biking, and wandering at Mountain Harbor Resort on the popular LOViT (Lake Ouachita Vista Trail). Nearby, Mount Ida, just 12 miles down the road boasts a friendly, small-town personality and is famed as the quartz crystal capitol of the world!Camp Ozark is also a short 21 miles away. Golf courses, museums, canoeing, Arkansas' only theme park, Magic Springs, the entire Tri-Lake's area, and a host of yearly events and activities are within an hour's drive. From our family to yours, we welcome you! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Mountain Harbor Hotel Mount Ida